Can ribs and septa provide an alternative standard for age in ammonite ontogenetic studies?



    1. Centre de géodynamique sédimentaire et tuolution géobiologique, UA CNRS 157, Centre des Sciences de la Terre, 6 Bd Gabriel, F-21100 Dijon. France
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In ammonites, the time between two successive septal secretions is assumed to be almost stable during growth within homogeneous sets with regard to phylogeny and morphology. The number of septa (included in the adult phragmocone) is proposed as an alternative standard for age. At each moment of growth, the rate of shell secretion can be directly estimated by the measure of shell length between two septa. Equivalent results are obtained for ribs whose formation is also dependent on an almost stable rhythmical process. Results obtained from septa and size used as age standards are compared in the example of Liparoceratidae-Amaltheidae evolution. The two standards provide estimations of age which diverge from more than 1 to 2. For example, some small species previously seen as progenetic are now classified as dwarfed. These results emphasize the risk of using size as the only standard of age. Alternative standards not only in ammonites but also in other animal groups should be investigated.